List Post: janvier 2017

  1. My calendar is filling up! Click News & Events for my upcoming appearances, all in February: Book Signings in Cumming, Roswell, and Buckhead; a Sunday Tea; a Saturday Luncheon; and a Radio Interview! Sign up there to receive my bi-monthly newsletter (the January 2017 edition was just published).
  2. This month, I’m back to and hard at work on my next novel, a domestic suspense.
  3. And on Monday, January 30, I’ll attend the “Simply Buckhead Welcome Party” to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer with two lovely friends (and “Quiet Hero” moms). Hope to see you there!

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List Post, décembre 2016 + HOLIDAY POEM!

  1. Write my next novel
  2. Get ready for Christmas (at home, this year)
  3. Celebrate the holidays with family and friends
  4. And on Tuesday, December 13 – the Killer Nashville Facebook Page will host my guest blog.

I met KN blog coordinator Tom Wood back in September at the Decatur Book Festival, and he asked me to submit a post for later on…which I did, and Voilà!

I’d love for you to read it and Like it.

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Now, for this year’s verse:

My holiday poem, I’ll try to make short.

The year’s highlights, to you, I’ll describe and report.

Two thousand sixteen will be history soon,

and I’ve time to consider that, this afternoon.

I began the year busy with two new endeavors:

got on Facebook, and found it both easy and clever.

I started my newsletter also, and found

it a way to update you all – all the year ’round.

In the spring, my last book, Daddy’s Girl, was released

and my number of novels out, by one, increased.

In the summer, just after it won an award

My nonfiction book, All the Above, struck a chord

With the public, when I penned an article in

the Atlanta newspaper (called the AJC). Then,

in the fall, I attended three festivals where

I met readers and authors and others who share

in the interest of stories, both made-up and true.

I had fun, and ’twas hard, to them all, bid adieu.

I will close with my wishes of love and good cheer.

Joyeuses fêtes de Noel and a Happy New Year!

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Two women walk into a café…

…and stay for three hours (12:30 – 3:30) on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, to chat with customers and sign copies of their latest books!

Come to Crema Espresso Gourmet, 2458 Mt. Vernon Rd., Dunwoody, Georgia (across from All Saints Catholic Church) for lunch or coffee, and pick up Gelia Dolcimascolo’s fantasy novel, AURELIA AND THE LIBRARY OF THE SOUL, my suspense novel, DADDY’S GIRL, and my creative nonfiction, ALL THE ABOVE: MY SON’S BATTLE WITH BRAIN CANCER.

Books make great holiday gifts!

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Aurelia and the Library of the Soul is a must-have for kids and adults, and is destined to become a classic. A prize-winning poet, Gelia has been The Writers Circle facilitator and LTC writing tutor on the GSU-Dunwoody campus for 25 years. Learn more about Gelia and her work at geliawrites.com

Daddy’s Girl is just the thing for readers on your holiday shopping list (and you)! All the Above: My Son’s Battle with Brain Cancer, a Georgia Author of the Year Finalist, is perfect for moms, dads, and anyone whose world has changed in a day.

We hope to see you at Crema!

Love, Julia and Gelia

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List Post, novembre 2016

It’s almost time for turkey Thanksgiving! (What?)

It’s the middle of November, and I’m just now getting around to posting this month’s List! (I’ve been busy.)

Just before the U.S. presidential election, my monsieur and I headed to the Caribbean for a long-awaited vacation on a beautiful island paradise. It was gorgeous, fun, and relaxing!

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On a “sunset cruise” together

The next weekend, I was off to moderate the nonfiction panel at the 2nd Annual Milton Literary Festival in Alpharetta, GA, where I also discussed my book ALL THE ABOVE.

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Me, talking books

So…what do I have coming up?

See my Events tab for details, but in a nutshell:

  • Book Signing, Crema Espresso Gourmet, Dunwoody, GA, Wed, Dec 7, 12:30-3:30
  • Interview, America’s Web Radio Show, “The Prologue,” Fri, Feb 3, 11:00 a.m.
  • Book Signing & Sunday Tea, Bookmiser Book Store, Roswell, GA, Sun, Feb 19, 2:00-3:30
  • And in March I’ll appear at the Dahlonega Literary Festival, followed by a panel discussion appearance at the April meeting of the Atlanta Writers Club in Dunwoody, GA.

In between, I’ll be writing my next novel, and celebrating the holidays with my family and friends.

Joyeuses fêtes de Thanksgiving, et bon apétit!

Pizza, Salad, and a Movie: The Girl on the Train

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Arugula
  • Jalapeños
  • Banana Peppers

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Movie:

The Girl on the Train

You’ve read the book, but have you seen the film?

My husband and I finally read it over the last few days. I had wanted to for awhile, and had the perfect chance while we were on a beach vacation earlier this month. He read it after me, and we both really liked it (and, comparing it to other suspense novels we’ve read, understood why it’s sold so well). Perhaps because I’m a writer (or, just because we like to talk about books), we talked about the characters, the plot twists, and the unreliable narrator, Rachel.

Though the movie has had mixed reviews, I wanted to see it as soon as possible after reading the book, so we could see it for ourselves and discuss the film adaptation. Since it’s been out for awhile, we had to go far from our neck of the woods for a showing at the right time (after our early dinner). I’m glad we did, but I agree with those who think the film wasn’t nearly as good as the book.

But I think it could have been.

It wasn’t just that they moved the story from England to Connecticut (or somewhere up north), and that the houses weren’t as I pictured them; they seemed too far from the train tracks, and too far apart. They also cut a lot of important scenes (and some key dialogue), and added some things that weren’t in the book, and weren’t needed.

Even so, if you see the movie, I strongly suggest you read the book first. Or – just read the book.

Oh, and I had a wedge salad, and (oops), one very small piece of pizza. But now I’m back “on track” on my diet, so to speak.

Reliably.

Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro douze (12)

Last week, for our October lunch, Wendy and I broke with tradition.

Instead of going to a French restaurant (of which, we’ve just about run out – that is, of any close enough to where we live), we went to a Mexican one. And instead of Wednesday, we went on Thursday, because it worked better for both of us, and gave us a bit more time.

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Which was nice, because we were celebrating our birthdays: mine was the week before, and hers is coming up this weekend.

We caught up with each other’s lives – work and family – and then talked about her art, my writing, and books we’ve read. I loved hearing about her current project, and I described my work-in-progress and asked for her thoughts. Sometimes, when I talk to others about the books I’ve written or about what I’m writing, they can lose interest, and their eyes start to glaze.

Not Wendy, though. She listened intently and offered great ideas for characters and missing plot elements –so many, in fact, that I later wished I’d taken notes.

When we parted, I felt re-energized about this new novel (whose working title I ran by her and explained what it meant). I’m writing the next scene today, and I hope to finish it before trick-or-treaters show up at the door.

And then, I’ll have (another) glass of wine!

 

 

 

Je vous présente Cooper’s Crew, that I met through CURE

Almost a month ago, I attended CURE Childhood Cancer‘s annual “Quiet Heroes” luncheon and silent auction in Atlanta, held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead. It was the 12th annual luncheon and my second time to be invited (last year was my first) by Executive Director Kristin Connor.

“Quiet Heroes” – honored at this event – are parents of childhood cancer patients, survivors, and children lost to the disease. My son Jack was diagnosed with and battled brain cancer at the age of 19. Because he was over 18, he was a legal adult, and had to sign all the consent (and other) forms during his treatment. But because he was under 21, he was termed pediatric, so he (technically) qualified as a “child” with cancer. We were told that was fortunate for him, and it was: he received care that was a little gentler and kinder than patients over 21 do. I was grateful for that, and I think he was, too.

On Jack’s 19th birthday, May 8, 2010, the unthinkable happened when he learned he had a brain tumor. But after an arduous and very difficult journey (chronicled in my book ALL THE ABOVE), he survived. He is now 25, 6 years cancer free, holds a Masters degree, and is working full time.

As he puts it, he was one of the “lucky” ones. His brain tumor, though rare, was the type with the highest cure rate. Other kids–many others–weren’t, or aren’t, as lucky. I met the mother of one of them as I was leaving this year’s luncheon.

Like last year, I had come alone to the event. I didn’t know anyone there (though I had met Kristin), but I was acquainted with Lynn Crow, fabulous Atlanta photographer, so I said hello to her. But as I walked around to view the auction items, I felt a kind of bond with the other moms–at least, with those going through what I did as Jack’s caregiver, and with those whose child had survived.

By happenstance, I met two women who weren’t actual “Quiet Heroes,” but who are involved in the event and in CURE: Joanne Hayes, Publisher and Founder of Simply Buckhead Magazine (and recently, 17th South Magazine), and Allison Palestrini, Principal at Type A Development. We chatted for a few minutes, and both were welcoming and kind.

I met some other moms at my table during lunch, and loved the program, which featured a panel of three very inspiring young cancer survivors. Afterward, like everyone else, I got ready to leave. Then in the Ladies’ room, as we both washed our hands, I met another woman named Theresa. She had come with her good friend Donna, whose son, Theresa told me, died two years ago, at age 14, of an extremely rare cancer called sarcoma. I told Theresa about Jack, and about how blessed I know we are that he made it.

A few minutes later, in front of the hotel, I ran into Theresa again. This time she was with Donna, and she introduced us. We three chatted as we waited for the valets to bring our cars, and I felt an instant like with both women. Have you every felt an instant dislike for someone? I have felt that way, a handful of other times over my lifetime. But (luckily) more often, I’ve felt an instant like.

Anyway, just when I thought I would see them both next year (or maybe, never again), one of them asked if I’d like to join them for a drink at a nearby restaurant. At first, I declined; I didn’t want to intrude on their time together. Then, one of them (I think it was Donna), said, “Are you sure? We can talk, and kind of decompress together.”

There she had me. It was only 2:00, anyway, and I didn’t have to be anywhere until 4:45. We decided to drive a few blocks up the road to Phipps Plaza and sit outside at the Tavern restaurant.

Boy, am I glad we did!

During the next two hours, we got to know each other a little better. Like me, they had gone to high school in the Atlanta area (I’m older, though), but not to the same one. They told me the story of how they met (at the beach, in their 20s), that they live in Suwanee, Georgia, and a lot about their lives and what they do. I felt an even stronger connection as we drank wine and laughed together (“decompressed”), and I shared much about myself. They wanted to hear all about my books, including the one I wrote about Jack’s battle with cancer.

I loved telling them about all that, but I also wanted to know more about Donna’s son. Turns out, his name was Cooper–which happens to be my maiden name (and yes, I told them). His battle lasted a little more than a year, and his cancer was aggressive. Hearing about his journey, I was filled with compassion. How did his younger brother handle it? I asked. What was his treatment? and, How did you make it, as a family, when the worst happened?

Those are pretty direct questions–but, having lived through Jack’s brush with death, I felt like I could ask–and like I should ask. Remember, I already had that instant like with Donna and Theresa, and by this time, I thought they felt the same way. Before we left, they invited me to an annual event in Suwanee to honor Cooper’s memory, raise awareness of sarcoma, and raise funds for research.

The event is a golf tournament, silent auction and dinner at the River Club in Suwanee, and it was to occur only three days later. I thanked them and said I would try to attend.

Well, I did attend, and I’m so glad I did. I arrived that day in the late afternoon and joined a huge crowd of Cooper O’Brien’s friends and family, called “Cooper’s Crew.” Again, I didn’t know anyone (except Donna and Theresa), but after a quarter of an hour, I found them as I perused the auction items. I met one of Donna’s coworkers and best friends, Cooper’s brother Parker and his father Kevin, and also met Theresa’s daughter Michaela, who was a lifelong friend of Cooper’s. Kristin came to the event (and spoke at it, during a program after dinner that included a video and a speech by Kevin). I got to speak to Kristin, too.

If you’re like me before that night, you don’t know about Cooper O’Brien, Cooper’s Crew, or sarcoma. Now, you do. They even have a website, and I urge you to check it out.

Serendipity is a wonderful thing, and I’m glad I happened to meet Theresa, Donna, and all of Cooper’s Crew.

What heroes they all are.

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Donna, me, and Theresa at Cooper’s Crew event in September, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

List Post, octobre 2016

October is my favorite month of the year! 🎃

  • I’m hard at work on my next novel. It’s got a working title I really like, and I hope I can live up to it. Characters are shaping up nicely…
  • On Saturday, October 15 from 2 – 4 pm, I’ll join my pal, SC author David Burnsworth, for a book signing together at Eagle Eye Book Shop called “Southern Authors.” This wonderful bookstore is located at 2076 North Decatur Road in Decatur, Georgia. David and I previously teamed up this year to do a presentation for the NC Triad “Murder We Write” chapter of writers organization Sisters in Crime (of which we are both members).

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  • Publicity! In case you missed my last blog post, click HERE for an article in the “Good Books” section of Northside Woman magazine about me and my book ALL THE ABOVE by Kathy Des Jardins Cioffi (an interview, mostly). The magazine caters to North Fulton and Forsyth counties, north of Atlanta!

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Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro onze (11)

Before September comes to a close (is it fall, already?)…

Wendy and I had lunch together at an Atlanta French restaurant recently and had a glass of wine. 😎 🍷 🇫🇷

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She told me all about her trip to Ireland, where she played golf and watched two (American) football games. In both, her team won, and in one of them (a high school game), her son played! She also visited San Francisco this month to visit one of her three daughters. I told her about my trip earlier this month to New Orleans, where I attended the mystery writers conference, Bouchercon.

Bistro Niko is one of our favorite lunch spots, with a great menu, and it’s conveniently located. Next month, who knows where we’ll meet? But since our birthdays fall within 2 1/2 weeks of each other (mine in late October, hers in early November) I think it will be fun to celebrate them together! 🍰

Bon weekend!